Start a dart store by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your dart store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a dart store?
Costs are generally determined based on rent for the location and the price of the wholesale materials. You will need to secure permits from local officials, who may or may not charge additional fees for setting up the store. If you plan to employ help, you'll need to budget for their salaries as well.
What are the ongoing expenses for a dart store?
Ongoing expenses for dart stores tend to be low, depending on how often you need to replenish your product. Other than that, all you’ll need to do is pay your rent, utilities, and employees.
Who is the target market?
The target market for dart store owners doesn't necessarily have to be hard-core players, though they will certainly be the most enthusiastic bunch when it comes to new products or developments. Bars are popular establishments no matter where you live, and drinking can be more fun when there's an activity to do. The target market can be anyone who enjoys games or any establishment owners who want to give their clientele a better experience.
How does a dart store make money?
Dart stores set profit margins based on public demand and the original cost of the item. If you’re planning on making your own custom dart boards and accessories, you’ll need to account for not just the cost of the items, but also the time you spent making it and the space you needed to sell it. For example, if it took you 10 hours to make one board and $40 in raw materials, you may want to charge $300 for the completed product.
How much can you charge customers?
People are willing to pay to ensure their equipment is top-notch. A specialty dartboard can cost $300 or more, and specialty darts can sell for up $1,000! An electronic dartboard can cost around $250, and a standard cork dartboard may cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Most people will pay between $50 to $100 for a solid set of quality darts too. New flights are typically just a few bucks, but owners can charge more for specialty flights.
How much profit can a dart store make?
Profits are highly dependent on your clientele and marketing strategies. For luxury clients, you can set your gross profit margins at about 40 - 50%. For general goods, you may want to set your profit margins closer to 20 - 30% (subject to demand.)
How can you make your business more profitable?
You may want to consider offering lessons to your clientele as a way of boosting business, or setting up a lounge where people can pay by the hour. They might be willing to pay to practice without being hassled by a fellow bar member asking to be a part of the game. You could even consider taking your business to local corporations as a way to encourage creativity and recreation among busy professionals.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your dart store is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Find the right bank for you, read our review of the Top 5 Banks for Your Small Business
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a dart store business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A dart store business is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a dart store business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your dart store business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a dart store
Your promotion depends on your target demographic. You can sell primarily to commercial business owners looking to make money, in which case you may want to start out by networking. You can sell primarily to dart pros, and market your store as a gathering place to share ideas and exchange advice. Get involved with and advertise to specialized social media groups, or at bars that host tournaments. You can also sell to amateur players looking for something to do on a Saturday night in their basement. In this case, you may to use website or print ads that highlight the fun and friendly competition of a dart game.
How to keep customers coming back
Customer service and quality products are two major factors. Customers are looking for someone who can answer their questions and meet their requests. You should also be listening to your customer’s suggestions, especially in the beginning. This means that if someone comes in and asks for a dartboard with a certain picture or print on the board, you should try to make it happen before telling them no.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Dart Store In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is excellent for a dart master. Because there are many places online that customers can buy dart equipment, it is important to be knowledgeable and passionate about the game of darts, so customers will look to you for expertise and recommendations that they cannot get while buying products online. Customers will be looking for an expert who can show how to get the best possible game, and recommend products based on their personal body type and throw style. A dart store can also be a good business for a local artisan who can make personalized boards or flights for high-end clients.
What happens during a typical day at a dart store?
Owners may handle the following in any given day:
- Selling/customer service
- Marketing and website maintenance
- Researching dart opportunities (e.g., tournaments, etc.)
- Managing employees
- Sourcing/making products
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful dart store?
Being a notable player in the world of darts can be a great start. People will come to you for advice they can’t find anywhere else. Master dartboard craftsmen will also start with an advantage because they can build a clientele based on unusual dartboard designs.
What is the growth potential for a dart store?
Growth potential may be limited in the beginning, especially if you’re living in an area where darts aren’t very popular. Most equipment is built to last, meaning a bar may not buy a board for a decade or two. However, it's possible to create public demand if you can get the word out, or capitalize on existing demands in highly populated areas.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a dart store?
The key is to look for opportunities when it comes to selling dart equipment. There are millions of casual dart players around the world, even if the sport isn’t as popular as it used to be. Owners may be able to generate interest by starting dart leagues around their area. There aren't a lot of hurdles to playing darts, and a dart league can provide some much needed novelty in people's lives.
Leagues will increase your business right off the bat, and turn your store into a staple around town. You can also consider specializing in selling either electronic or standard dartboards. Bars typically prefer electronic dartboards because they can charge for every game a customer plays. However, some players may not like them and may avoid bars that have them. Knowing your clientele can help you decide the best path to get started.
How and when to build a team
You don’t necessarily have to build a team if you’re just getting started. You may choose to have your dart store open only during certain hours, or to make it by appointment only. Once you get a steady clientele, you can look for fellow dart lovers to take over the shifts you can’t cover.